ChatGPT boss Sam Altman granted Indonesia’s first golden visa

Indonesia has welcomed OpenAI CEO Sam Altman as part of its drive to increase investment in artificial intelligence technologies  (AP)
Indonesia has welcomed OpenAI CEO Sam Altman as part of its drive to increase investment in artificial intelligence technologies (AP)

Founders of artificial intelligence companies are the new titans of technology. Their products – ranging from AI chatbots to the powerful chips that power them – are breaking records for user numbers and being stockpiled by countries respectively, and their inventors are becoming multibillionaires.

Governments and experts agree that AI is poised to make far-reaching changes to industries as disparate as farming, healthcare and defence. But, they can’t predict if the technological revolution will have mainly positive or negative implications.

With so much hype around AI, it is no wonder that the people behind the tech are getting the VIP treatment. On Wednesday, Indonesia announced that OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman is the first foreigner to receive the country’s exclusive golden visa, which comes with a host of handy perks.

The 38-year-old was catapulted to the tech stratosphere after the release of his company’s viral AI chatbot ChatGPT last December. Not only will the golden visa allow Altman to stay in the country for up to 10 years, it means he can skip queues at the airport through priority screening and service lanes. He will also be able to easily come and go as he pleases and won’t have to bother with paperwork, such as a limited stay permit.

Last week, Indonesia became the latest country to offer a golden visa to high-net worth individuals deemed to be of value to the country’s economy. Other nations that offer the scheme include the US, Ireland, and Spain. It is the world’s 16th biggest economy and its population reached 275 million last year.

What is Indonesia’s golden visa?

The golden visa handed to Altman by Indonesia is reserved for “figures who have an international reputation” and must be proposed by a central government agency, the country’s director general of immigration, Silmy Karim, said in a statement.

In Karim’s words, Indonesia is rolling out the “red carpet” for Altman as the country seeks to draw AI investment.

Normally, a five-year golden visa requires individual investors to set up a company worth $2.5 million, while a $5 million investment is required for the 10-year visa.

Altman recently conducted a whirlwind world tour to discuss AI regulation, where he was greeted by fans and grilled by lawmakers on the pitfalls of the tech.

Following ChatGPT’s breakout success, people quickly learned that chatbots like it are prone to spewing falsehoods.

Altman recently visited India where he met the prime minister, Narendra Modi, and was the guest of honour at a talk attended by the country’s technology and business luminaries. He could also be on the guest list at Rishi Sunak’s upcoming AI safety summit at Bletchley Park, which was home to the Second World War Enigma code breakers.